Tobi’s take on secure communications: What does VPN really mean?

Tobi’s take on secure communications: Student intern Tobi shares what he has learned so far at NCP.

Part 1: What does VPN really mean?

Hello, everybody!

I’m Tobi and I study business administration at FAU in Nuremberg and I joined the NCP marketing team as a student at the start of April 2020. I am very enthusiastic about sports and a fan of the Ice Tigers Nuremberg ice hockey team and the 1.FC Nuremberg soccer club. Now you know who I am, let’s get started. I want to share some things I have experienced or learned at NCP so far, especially those things that are also new to me.

Starting out as a student intern at an IT security company, you encounter many terms in unfamiliar contexts or that you don’t fully understand although you may have used them or heard them before. That is why I want to share what I have learned with you.

Today I want to start with the term VPN (Virtual Private Network).

This is something that you will hear a lot about at NCP. I've heard about VPN before because I need it to study at university. I also knew that NCP provides VPN clients to its customers but I didn’t know much more than that. But that soon became clearer after a product training course in my second week.

I still haven't understood everything there is to know, but I can explain VPN quite well now with an everyday example.

Imagine you’re on a business trip to the USA. After a busy day, you want to continue watching your favorite series that you started at home using a streaming service from your laptop. When you log in to the hotel Wi-Fi and hit play, you will notice that streaming the series outside of Germany is not permitted (this is actually the case with most streaming services, because the series offered differ depending on the country).

But don’t worry, VPN can help you solve this problem. If you have VPN software on your laptop, you can log into your home network. This means that you are now accessing the internet from your Wi-Fi router at home. The streaming service cannot know that you are in another country and not on the sofa at home and you can easily continue watching your favorite series in the USA.

Since many people have taken advantage of this, it has been banned by some streaming providers. I certainly don’t recommend that you try this at home but I wanted to give you a simple example of what a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is.

In my next posts, we will dive deeper into the world of VPN. And we’ll talk about even more exciting, but also more complex applications. Streaming series is really only a very small example of what VPN can do and the technology is far more useful and powerful in business environments.

I will also be busting some myths and rumors about VPN and finding out what is behind these misunderstandings. I hope that this post has got us off to a good start.

See you next time


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